Today started with me learning that I am still not cleared to deploy, because of that pissant doctor's ruling. At least I was assured that all those medical records that were faxed actually did reach the number they were sent to; but there was no indication that the doctor ever saw them. And in fact, he didn't.
Turns out that the Army, in its infinite wisdom, doesn't let the original doctor who examined your records follow up on his ruling. They take all the incoming faxes that have been requested, put them in a big pile, and dole them out at random to all the "providers," of which there are maybe a dozen. So the original doctor rarely sees the records of someone he's flagged. If he did, it would be an incentive for him to approve questionable cases, because it would mean more paperwork for him later. As it is, they can make these godlike rulings that mess with the lives of people like me who just want to go over and do the job, and the doctor suffers no repercussions. Brilliant system.
But I did get referred to "case management," which means my records and the doc's ruling got bumped up to the next higher echelon of doctor. This older doctor spent maybe a minute flipping through the volume of records I had sent here; then, instead of just overruling the young doc who boned me by approving my travel, he instead opted to fax a request for a waiver to CENTCOM. In Florida. Now, since they had all my records as early as Tuesday evening, they could have done this then. Or Wednesday morning at the latest. Instead they chose to waste at least 24 hours, and the request was finally sent this morning around 0930. They told me that it takes 24-72 hours to get a response. You know as well as I do that this means a MINIMUM of 72 hours, which means I will miss my flight and have to cool my heels for another week, either here at Atterbury (I will buy a gun and hurt myself) or at home, which will be nice in one respect but psychologically devastating in another, since I am already all psyched and packed to go.
Actually, though, my barracks mate Adrian said he also needed a waiver this week for his TB test, and his approval came back actually about 22 hours later. So I do still hold out hope that by the time we report with our bags to the airport bus tomorrow, my clearance will have come through. Please, if you're reading this, pray that this happens.
Anyway, all the people who are cleared for travel (which is most folks, now) were in a pretty jubilant mood this afternoon--if for no other reason than at the prospect of leaving Camp Atterbury FAR behind. They all wanted to go into town for a "Last Supper" and they would not take my No for an answer, even though my mood right now is not celebratory. About 10 of us piled into two cars and drove into Edinburgh and had dinner at Montana Mike's, the steak house where I had dinner last Sunday on the night I was at the Hilton before reporting to Camp. They were pretty generally pleased with the meal, and I got to learn a lot more about these folks by listening to their stories. They are all amazing--all, I think, ex-military; all have been deployed overseas before, either in service or as contractors; and all with amazing experiences and stories to tell. I didn't dare speak up much, since I have nothing comparable to contribute to their amazing tales. I really felt like an outsider, but also honored to be in their presence.
So now we're back at the All Ranks Club for a couple hours before bed time. We have to get up extra early tomorrow to clean our barracks (something the previous class... or previous thirty classes... failed to do, apparently) before hauling our bags to the Day Room in Bldg 303 to await the airport bus. During that time I might still get the news that my waiver has come in and I am cleared to travel; otherwise I'll take the bus to the airport, I guess, and fly home for a week, then come back here for the next flight next Friday. In case you're not paying attention, that would suck.
Look for good news tomorrow!